New York State Poison Control Network - Annual Report on 2001 Data


History and Background of the New York State Network

Historical Perspective

Poison control services have existed in New York State since 1953, when the first poison control centers were established as a result of the collaborative efforts of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the New York Academy of Medicine and local medical societies.

Over the next two decades, additional regional programs provided poison services. The scope of these programs varied depending on the needs of the community and the available funding. To determine the level of poison control services available, the Department of Health in 1979 conducted a survey of all poison control services in the State. Results illustrated that only 50% of New York State's population received any level of poison control services and there was a lack of service uniformity in those areas.

State Involvement

In 1981, the Commissioner of Health established an advisory council on poison prevention and control. The purpose of the council was to advise the Department of Health on the further development of statewide standards for poison control services. The collaborative efforts of the council and the department resulted in the development in 1984 of the comprehensive Administrative Guidelines for the Operation of Poison Control Centers. Those guidelines were subsequently used in the development of State regulations.

The Poison Control Network Act was signed on May 12, 1986 and provided for the establishment of regional poison control centers to form a statewide network to reduce poisonings, educate the public about hazardous exposures and assure statewide emergency coverage by poison control facilities. Poison control centers must disseminate expert information to professionals and the public. Centers must also participate in collection of uniform data and conduct research to enhance the science of toxicology. It was recognized that regional poison control centers can reduce hospital costs by handling nontoxic and mildly toxic poisoning emergencies through telephone consultation.

Together the centers formed the Association of Poison Control Centers of New York State, for the purpose of collaborating on issues of concern to all of the centers and interacting with the New York State Department of Health.

Previous Consolidations

Extensive consolidation of poison control services has taken place since its inception in 1955. During 1956 - 1981, there were 17 - 21 poison control centers in New York State. Many of these existed as a part of emergency room services and many handled calls during day time hours only. There were no regulations or guidelines for these services.

With the enactment of the New York State Poison Control Network Act in 1986, eight poison centers were designated, one for each of the state's health service areas. In 1990, Ellis Hospital Poison Control in Schenectady transferred their services to the Hudson Valley Regional Poison Center and the Southern Tier Poison Center in Binghamton was absorbed by Central New York Regional Poison Control Center.

For the past decade, the six remaining poison centers have effectively carried out the delivery of services to the 18 million people of New York State. During 2001, the Hudson Valley Regional Poison Center converted to a public education center only. As such, the Network is now comprised of five (5) emergency call receiving centers and one public education center. The counties serviced by the Hudson Valley Regional Poison Center were reassigned to the Central New York Regional Poison Control Center, with the exception of Westchester County which was assigned to the Long Island Regional Poison and Drug Information Center. The newly named Hudson Valley Poison Education Center, continues to provide public education services under the supervision of both the Central New York Regional Poison Control Center and the Long Island Regional Poison and Drug Information Center. The five (5) remaining full service centers are certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.